3 Tips for Surviving Your Busy Day, Mum

c74684aa-c740-444f-a9f8-98bc535608a1People wear busy like a badge of honour. There’s the perception that if you aren’t busy, you somehow aren’t important, or you aren’t getting things done. The trouble is that ‘busy’ also suggests a struggle against time, and as parents, fixating on how busy we are doesn’t really help us glide smoothly through our full agendas. Here are three key ways to survive the constant things to do, without languishing in how busy you always are.

1. Prepare for tomorrow

Get stuff ready the night before. I know you are tired, and that couch is looking very inviting now that the kidlets are (finally) asleep, but there is not going to be an easier time to find the library books, pack the lunchboxes or write the orthodontist a cheque. Think of getting things done in advance as giving future you the gift of free time. The drive to ballet lessons tomorrow will be much more fun if you haven’t been frantically searching for bobby pins just beforehand.

2. Keep a to-do list

Let’s face it, it is never ending. But start each day by deciding on just a couple of listed items you really need to do that day. Between family, work and social commitments, there is a lot on the average parent’s plate. Make sure you don’t spend these years too busy to just be with your kids. Talk with them, listen to what they care about and read them stories. I know the laundry is piling up and can’t be ignored forever, but put it on the list and see if it can wait one more day. Make sure you get some important things done, but as you parent, let the items on your list slide without guilt.

3. Insist on “me time”

You might have to fight yourself, or other family members, for this. It can be immensely difficult to justify some time off when the to-do list is calling, and heart-wrenching to be away from the kids┬ájust to do something for yourself; but nothing good will come of being ‘on’ all the time. Experiment to find what works best for you, as no one size fits all. Some people are good with ten quiet minutes weeding the garden in the morning, others need a whole night out once a week at least. It will probably change as your kids grow. The important thing is to let that pressure valve off a little. Reading a chapter of Proust, dancing in your pjs or getting a mani-pedi with a glass of wine, whatever it is, you deserve it.

The key to surviving these busy days is to refuse at the outset to be too busy. Cherish the fleeting years of having kids at home, and value yourself, knowing you don’t have to completely exhaust yourself to do a great job.